Is the Web really a “Web for All”?

Oreste Signore, <>
Manager W3C Italy

Content on the Multilingual Web
4-5 April 2011, Pisa, Italy


Cover page W3C Office Logo Cover page Weblab Logo Cover page Aquarius Logo Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!


This was the start…

web proposal: vague but interesting “ The people who built the Internet and Web have a real appreciation of the value of individuals and the value of systems in which individuals play their role, with both a firm sense of their own identity and a firm sense of some common good.
The first Unitarian Universalists church in Cambridge (USA) I was very lucky, in working at CERN, to be in an environment that Unitarian Universalists and physicists would equally appreciate: one of mutual respect, and of building something very great through collective effort that was well beyond the means of any one person - without a huge bureaucratic regime.
The system produced a weird and wonderful machine, which needed care to maintain, but could take advantage of the ingenuity, inspiration, and intuition of individuals in a special way. That, from the start, has been my goal for the World Wide Web. ”

(Tim Berners-Lee - Weaving the Web, p. 208-209)

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Foto di TBL

“To lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web”

The Recommendation Track

Stages of the Recommendation process in a stacked diagram

Credits and description

Vision for the future of the Web

Il Web connette persone, applicazioni, dispositivi

One Web: For Everyone, Connecting & Empowering All People

The Web is a social environment

worldHumanity “The Web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect - to help people work together - and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the Web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world.”

The social value of the Web is that it enables human communication, commerce, and opportunities to share knowledge [and] to make these benefits available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.

(Tim Berners-Lee - Director of W3C and inventor of the Web)

Is the Web 2.0 really a social environment?

vari ambienti di social web

David Simonds, The Economist

Could everyone have access to the Web?

Al largo della costa di Kerala (India): utilizzo di un cellulare da un' imbarcazione
(Fonte: NY Times )

Digital Divide

How can the Web help humanity?

Some figures (to think about…)
  • Not using the Web: ~
  • Living on $1.25/day or less: ~1.400.000.000
  • Under-nourished: ~920,000,000
  • Illiterate: ~900,000,000
Many ather barriers and threats:
  • Lack of support for languages and fonts
  • Lack of support for people with disabilities (reduced functionaality)
  • Poprietary solutions vs open standards
  • Censorship, discriminatory access
  • Understanding of how the Web works
  • Understanding of how the Web can best empower people

(numbers from 2007/2008)

Mission of the World Wide Web Foundation

w3f logo

Web accessibility

Why accessible?

WCAG 2.0


Credits and description

WCAG 2.0 in a nutshell

Components of Web Accessibility

componenti della Web Accessibility

Credits and description

Text, images, forms, multimedia, applications, etc.
Using authoring tools, editors, validators, CMS (Content Management Systems).
Should be accessible and produce accessible content
Use User Agent (browser, media player, etc.) to access content.
Less effort by web designers, if User Agents follow the accessibility rules

Multilingual Web

It's not just a matter of language translation!

Some issues

About the author: Christian Arno is the founder of global translations company and website localization specialists Lingo24. In the past twelve months, Lingo24 translated over thirty million words for companies in sixty countries and their turnover in 2009 was $6.1m USD.

Some issues: Unicode

picture of UNICODE

However, quoting some colleagues of mine:
Don't mind about UTF-8, ISO-8859-1 is yet much more than we need!

Some issues: Colors


Some issues: Navigation

Where is multilingualism in W3C Standards?

Just a reminder

An example: the Ruby annotation


Thanks for your attention and participation


…and answers

If it isn't on the Web it doesn't exist ...

... you will find on the office site (
these slides (